Ugh, what a depressing topic. But it so important to understand what this means. This means you are making progress!! I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out. First, a plateau is when you have stopped making gains. You may have lost some weight, or put on some muscle, but now everything seems to be at a standstill. I can’t stress how important it is to realize this is just a speed bump. For many reasons, your body has become immune or bored with your current food and/or workout schedule. I relate this to having babies: you finally get your new baby on a schedule, you can differentiate what their different cries mean, and then….EVERYTHING CHANGES and a new schedule has to be created. This is where you learn to roll with the punches. Remember when I said this was a journey? Mine is going on 6 years and I learn and change all the time. I also get frustrated, me, the lady with the meal prep company, has bad, ugly days. And then I snap out of it. This is what I am going to tell you to do.
I was on the same meal plan for 5 years. Same basic food, I get bored and new menu items would appear on the website. I know the signs when I am not following my meal plan and going rogue with food—lethargy, sluggishness, workouts seem harder, my muscles aren’t as defined, the list goes on. In the midst of this, I had meniscus surgery. This also meant that for many months the gym didn’t mean the same to me as it once had. I am competitive, but my knee kept me from pushing myself. First, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. My own strength had injured myself, and I needed to learn from it. I needed to go back to basics. Food was the only thing that I had control over. I focused on mobility and utilizing muscles that helped strengthen my knee. I also asked for help. I had a few visits with my lifestyle coach and my gym coaches to find out what more I could do. I have come back stronger in many aspects, and am still working on specific weaknesses. The most important thing I have learned is to listen to my body. I was doing ok with food, but I knew I was hitting a plateau. You know what I did? I. Changed. Everything. And I did it with excitement.
You see, everything we do can be related to mind over matter. You are going to believe what you continue to tell yourself. If you complain about change, it will only make it that much harder. I had learned when I started to trust the process. I am telling you, trust the process. You need to tell your mind to trust the process. When life throws you a curve ball, knock it out of the park. I went as far as to try a different coach with a totally different meal plan. Not only did I start intermittent fasting, but I was carb cycling throughout the week. Why was I excited for this drastic change? Glad you ask. I tell people all the time to take their vices and find better alternatives for them. I was bored with food and wanted to snack. For 3 years, I was on a plan that really didn’t allow me any snacks, only my premade meals. When I overviewed this new plan, I realized that I could eat AND snack throughout the day. In fact, on my full macro days, I get to eat ALL the food! I started to incorporate fresh pressed juices, granola bars, even some fantastic snacks we make at PNY…buffalo dip, chocolate hummus, more fruit. Then guess what happened? I felt awesome. I had more energy, I was pushing myself harder in the gym, I was able to start running again, I trimmed up, my body was overall more toned. I also even changed my workouts. I am a die hard CrossFit fan, it will always be my first love, but I needed a change. I didn’t quit, but I did start going to a Orangetheory once a week and incorporated yoga when I could.
I tell you all of this to help you understand the importance of a plateau. I have been on the other side, I have struggled like everyone else, and I have made it better. My business is about helping other people not be so frustrated. With our instant gratification society, it is hard to get people to understand and believe in a slow, but steady, process. This is your body telling you to change it up. Give it what it wants and it will do fantastic things for you. A plateau is a moment that your body is pushing you to be better.
Everyone is different though. Someone’s plateau with 100 pounds to lose is completely different than someone’s with 10 pounds left to lose. One person can hit multiple plateau’s in their journey, while someone else may only hit a couple. The important thing to do is focus on YOUR journey and YOUR goals. Be very honest with yourself about what you need, where you are failing, and what your issues are. Get a coach. Whether that be a lifestyle or wellness coach, a nutritionist, or even a therapist. (Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of, everyone should have a good therapist. I do). Even coaches need to be coached, so why would you think you are different? You may even change your workout, find something fun. If your exercising seems like work, you are not going to do it. When I made those changes, I started loving everything again. I love my workouts, wherever they may be, even if not at CrossFit. I started loving food again, and I am now able to incorporate so many more things when I need them. I learned how to make myself accountable again with food. Seems weird to say that, but I had gotten so complacent that I stopped being able to think for myself.
You have one life, make it worth it. It is full of ups and downs, that is what makes it difficult. But, if it were easy, everyone would do it. There is no greater feeling than setting a goal, and reaching it on the other side. You will have days that you feel like nothing is happening, but then you get to the end and it feels like you just started. Enjoy the process. Enjoy learning about yourself, how hard you can push yourself. Find your breaking point, then I bet you could do more. I have pushed myself harder in the last 6 years than I ever imagined. I have come close to breaking, but I didn’t. Surround yourself with a tribe of people that will push you and hold you accountable. Everyone starts out at the beginning, but we are all in different stages when we meet. Stop worrying that others are judging you, if they are, they don’t belong in your tribe. I do not have a single person in my circle that does not bring out the best in me or that doesn’t push me when I need it. Plateau’s aren’t a reason to quit, they are a reason to push harder. It’s working.